17:15 - 18:15
#AfricaBlogging – Political bloggers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Short thesis

Africa has the largest growth of internet distribution in the world. With the increasing spread of the internet, social media has become more important in every-day life of African people. In a region where traditional media lacks - due to the absence of infrastructure, corruption, State influence or poor wages – relevant quality for being a real pillar of democracy, social media activists become an increasingly important source of information; they also contribute to the diversity of opinion.


Political blogs can be an enriching voice within the political dialogue away from traditional media. Given the fact that in many African countries, the media is impeded by governments and therefore not able to report independently, critical political bloggers play a crucial role. This was most apparent in the so called “Arab Spring”, where social media activists were an important source of information for the outside world by having reported promptly and directly of the developments. While they become more and more important within the process of political opinion-making, governments intensify their efforts to intimidate social media activists. A recent example is the detention of the Zone 9 Bloggers from Ethiopia.

In this session, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and re:publica provide a forum for political bloggers from Africa. Find out about their concerns, about their issues, the challenges that they are facing und what reactions they provoke with their work in often difficult political environments. Address the question how political blogs can contribute to the diversity of opinion and meet people whose political engagement requires far more courage than in most European countries.

Let’s discuss if African and European experiences in the blogosphere are similar or comparable at all and what we can learn from each other.


Supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.